* The play begins on a fall afternoon in 1930s Georgia.
* The first two characters introduced are Colonel Thomas Norwood, a plantation owner who is about 60, and Cora Lewis, Norwood's housekeeper and mistress of thirty years; she is in her forties.
* As the action opens, Norwood and Cora are discussing the imminent departure of Cora's (and Norwood's) daughter Sallie for school.
* Talk quickly turns to another child, their son Robert ("Bert"), and the fact that he has taken the car into town without permission.
* The Colonel makes it clear that he is angry at Bert's disobedience and will not tolerate such insolence from a "darkie," especially his own child.
* We are next introduced to Sam, an elderly black man who is a personal assistant to the Colonel.
* Sam asks if it would be acceptable to take Sallie's luggage out the front door to the car, as the...
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